The BIG EAST announced today that ESPN will exercise its option for a six-day window to announce the network (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2) and game time for West Virginia’s Sept. 24 non-conference game against LSU.
I know we have a HUGE game this weekend against Maryland in College Park, and I'm not overlooking that game (and I can all but guarantee you that the team isn't either) but indulge me for a minute.
What does this announcement mean? Well...not much, at least at this point, other than the fact that ESPN is likely awaiting this weekend's results to figure out which games to feature that weekend.
It looks like there are two games that WVU-LSU is competing with for a chance to host ESPN's College Gameday, which is traditionally accompanied by a primetime TV spot on ABC at 8:00 pm. Those games are (current AP ranked) #14 Arkansas at #2 Alabama and #8 Oklahoma State at #9 Texas A&M.
According to ESPN.com, there is no kickoff time or network set for Arkansas-Alabama, and there is no network listed for Oklahoma State-Texas A&M, although it is listed for a 7:00 pm (CDT?) kickoff. However, the Big XII website lists the Oklahoma State-Texas A&M game as being on ABC with no time announced, and AL.com reported today that CBS will be televising Arkansas-Alabama at 3:30.
From my perspective, the chances of College Gameday coming to Morgantown are wholly dependent on the outcome of both WVU-Maryland and LSU-Mississippi State, which is ESPN's Thursday night game this week. If both teams win, expect to see Fowler, Corso, Desmond and Herbstreit (oh yeah, and Erin Andrews) in the Blue Lot on September 24.
The reason I say that is because all four other teams play cupcakes this week, making the chances of an upset slight. Arkansas hosts Troy, Alabama hosts North Texas, Oklahoma State is at Tulsa, and Texas A&M hosts Idaho, all at night. Don't let the 3:30 time slot on CBS for Arkansas-Alabama fool you, Gameday has selected important SEC games as their location before, although probably only where there are no other logical options available. And both of those games could have compelling storylines, especially given that it may be Texas A&M's last year in the Big 12. But neither option, in my opinion, is as compelling as a nonconference matchup between two of the sport's rowdiest fan bases with eccentric head coaches who play an entertaining brand of football...especially when Gameday has never been to Morgantown. And, moreover, if ESPN was going to go to Tuscaloosa or College Station regardless, why bother exercising the 6-day window for WVU-LSU?
Rumor has it that ESPN has already booked rooms in Morgantown and pre-ordered t-shirts to commemorate the occasion. While they have likely done the same for their other two options, ESPN may be tipping their hand by planning this in advance.
[quote via www.MSNsportsnet.com]